Trade

From the forest

Timber is an essential material with a long tradition of use in many UK industries. However, as one of the least forested places in Europe we are a net importer of timber.

 

While there is an ongoing effort to reforest and grow our own source of sustainable timber, as an island closely connected to Europe, our largest trading partners, the UK has access to a growing supply of timber.

 

This means we have access to a plentiful supply of sustainable, carbon-absorbing timber.

 

EU forest and other wooded land covers 182 million ha, 43% of land area. The vast majority of these forests are sustainably managed which means for every tree harvested several more are planted.

 

The Timber Trade Federation collaborates with our partners in the EU and around the world to promote sustainable forestry, and our members are leaders in sustainable sourcing.

 

We use third party auditing to ensure our members are meeting their obligations under the European Timber Regulations (EUTR), which is focused on ensuring that any timber which enters the EU comes from sustainable sources.

 

This means when you purchase from Timber Trade Federation members, you are buying timber you can trust. Make sure to use our Product Finder to connect with a trusted supplier in your area.

 

Across the ocean

Between our own supply of sustainable timber, what we source from the EU, and what we import from Russia, these three sources account for more than 90% of timber consumed in the UK.

 

The market in the UK is supported in part by the customs union with EU, which allows for frictionless trade of wood and wood products. Under this arrangement these goods do not face import duties or tariffs.

 

Of course when timber is imported from outside the UK, unless the EU has a Free Trade Agreement in place, or the country is subject to a Generalised Scheme of Preference (GSP), the product will be subject to WTO Tariffs.

 

This is not the only aspect which changes between trading with countries outside the common market.

 

When timber is imported from countries outside the common market, the role of a timber merchant changes. They move from being considered a ‘trader’ to an ‘operator’ under EU Timber Regulations.

 

Traders include any person or business who sells or buys timber or timber products within the EU, and they have an obligation to maintain and keep records of both where they sourced there timber and who they sell it to for at least five years.

 

Operators, as the first person or business to place timber on the market, must maintain these records as well as implement a due diligence system. Our members are subject to mandatory third party auditing, under our world leading Responsible Purchasing Policy system.

 

Like any other good entering the UK, wood and wood products must be assigned an appropriate custom code. It is up to the importer, or ‘Declarant’ to ensure that all information is correct for VAT purposes.

 

Responsible sourcing and due diligence is essential for preventing the entry of illegal timber into the EU market, helping combat climate change, and ensuring timber is harvested sustainably.

 

Another important duty of timber traders, under Construction Product Regulations, is to ensure goods they trade carry an appropriate CE Mark from the manufacturer, indicating their performance against harmonised EU standards.